Richard Woods

Rich small Richard Woods

PhD student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation
University of Exeter, Cornwall campus
Penryn TR10 9FE

richarddavidwoods AT

Hailing from deepest darkest Devon, I grew up spoiled rotten by the plethora of moors, beaches, and fantastic countryside on offer. During my Biology degree at Cardiff University, classic studies by Nico Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz inspired me to want explore their subject in detail, leading to my MSc in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology with the University of Exeter. My masters project in the beautiful French Pyrenees with Dr Andy Russell was a great head-first dive in to the trials and tribulations of collecting behavioural data in the wild, and has left me with a healthy respect for work involving natural study systems.

I am relatively new to the fields of cognition and comparative psychology having recently started my PhD on “Communication and Cognition in Wild Jackdaws” using three study sites comprising the Falmouth Jackdaw Project. I am really enjoying learning to explore cognitive processes and tease apart aspects of psychology from behavioural experimentation. I am hopeful that our newly-created study system can form the backbone of many future projects in this fascinating area of research. Outside of ecology I enjoy playing music, cooking, and I am always on the lookout for new ways to explore the great outdoors, whether with my bike, surfboard, or trusty walking boots!


    New PhD Opportunity! Corvid Cultural Transmission: Learning to Learn From Others


    Cooperative breeding doesn’t make you smarter. New paper open access in Journal of Zoology


    New TREE paper: The evolution of individual and cultural variation in social learning

    New paper on human cumulative culture in Scientific Reports


    Jackdaws recognise human faces! Gabrielle’s new paper is out. See coverage on ITV and BBC


    New ESRC grant! Cognitive Requirements of Cumulative Culture: Expts with Typically Developing and Autistic People. Collaborating with Christine Caldwell & Francesca Happé

    New paper with Oxford collaborators in Nature: cultural conformity in great tits

    Enormous congratulations to Gabrielle who passed her PhD viva. Well done Dr Davidson!

    Comparative cognition can help conservation: read Alison’s new paper in TREE


    Coverage of Gabrielle’s Biology Letters paper in the press and on YouTube


    Gabrielle has a new paper accepted in Biology Letters! 


    Gabrielle’s gaze sensitivity review is out!



    Took part in our survey about corvids in your garden? Click here to see preliminary results.

    New publications: 

    - Comparative cognition for conservationists. Trends Ecol. Evol.

    - Towards wild psychometrics. Behav. Ecol.

    - How and why are some animals so smart?. Behav. Ecol.

    - Jackdaw nestlings can discriminate between conspecific calls but do not beg specifically to their parents. Behav. Ecol.

    – Salient eyes deter conspecific nest intruders in wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula). Biol. Lett.

    – Gaze sensitivity: function and mechanisms from sensory and cognitive perspectives. Anim. Behav.

    – Heterogeneous structure in mixed-species corvid flocks in flight. Anim. Behav.

    Animal Minds: Phil. Trans. issueAnimal Minds e1345931827281 Richard Woods

    -Identification of learning mechanisms in a wild meerkat population. PloS ONE

    – Innovative problem-solving in wild meerkats. Anim. Behav.

    – How do banded mongooses locate and select anvils for cracking encased food items? Behav. Proc.

    – Teaching can teach us a lot. Anim. Behav.

    – Cooperation and punishment in nature. TREE